CCST Fellow Duane McRuer died of prostate cancer January 24, 2007 at his home in Manhattan Beach, California. He was 81.
McRuer was Chairman of Systems Technology, Inc. (STI), from 1993 until his death, and was President and Technical Director, STI, 1957-1993. He has also been a Regent’s Lecturer at the University of CA Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the 1992-93 Hunsaker Professor at MIT.
He was born in 1925 in Bakersfield, California and served in the Navy during World War II as a Lieutenant (j.g.) developing anti-submarine techniques. He attended the California Institute of Technology, graduating with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1948. His professional experience encompassed all aspects of control systems engineering and human factors. His major research areas were: 1) aerospace, ground vehicle, and human controller dynamics, 2) automatic and manual vehicular control, and 3) vehicle flying/handling qualities. “McRuer’s Law,” which quantitatively describes human dynamic behavior in human/automation systems, is a widely known and applied result of his interdisciplinary research. His published works include over 125 papers and 7 books or monographs, most notably “Analysis of Nonlinear Control Systems,” (Wiley, Dover), “Aircraft Dynamics and Automatic Control,” (Princeton) and “Mathematical Models of Human Pilot Behavior” (NATO AGARD).
He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, an honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a Fellow of the SAE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Other honors included the Caltech Distinguished Alumnus Award, NASA Public Service and Distinguished Public Service Medals, SAE Aerospace Engineering Leadership Award, AIAA Mechanics and Control of Flight Award, and the HFES Williams Award.
McRuer is survived by Betty, his wife of 50 years; a daughter Lara of Prescott, Arizona; a son Steve of Yorba Linda, CA; 3 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.